A company out of Wales has just received a nearly half million dollar grant to set up a system that will create not only a lighting system that will revolutionize an entire industry, but create an entirely different and more futuristic way of life if its project succeeds. The luminescent material it proposes to make could be placed on (and in) any number of things, and require no more than three to five volts of electricity to power. If this takes off, we may have quite a bright future indeed.
It’s called an organic light emitting diode (OLED) and it’s designated to change the world of lighting forever. In the future lighting would be rolled out like a carpet under a tile floor and put up like wallpaper. The material could be run on less than a tenth of the power used for current conventional bulbs, meaning lighting could be run almost entirely off small solar panels or wind turbines and power a house for days. But it wouldn’t have to stop there. Street signs, rather than relying on reflective material could illuminate themselves, and even change turning every street sign essentially into a work of art. The streets and sidewalks themselves could cast a moody glow on environments making the eerie dangers of night in the city a mere memory as people strode with all the confidence they would in the daylight, unafraid of muggers lurking in shadows. And imagine how useful a glow in the dark tattoo would be on the tip of your fingers if you were an electrician working in the dark all the time.
The move comes about due to increased efficiency standards in the EU for lighting, and a requirement for energy conservation. The project is being led (that’s LED) by Ken Lacey who is the chief executive of LOMOX limited. Lacey says the OLED material could hit the market and be seen in homes as quickly as 2012. LOMOX is cornering the market on the energy saving material and stands to make a mint if the project succeeds.
And in addition to creating incredibly energy efficient lighting, the OLED material could be used to illuminate television screens for a fraction of the cost for production, and would be even more energy efficient than typical energy star television sets. It would also allow for ultra cheap paper thin screens that could be used in presentations or placed on walls to project a film onto during a picnic, then rolled up after using. Such a screen would be able to run on a rechargeable battery, but would require no more energy than a single double or triple A battery. The instant such technology is utilized into a UV projection screen agriculture would be instantly transformed almost overnight as plants can be grown in tiny energy efficient compartments, perhaps even on space stations, reducing the requirement for supply runs, and improving the possibilities for long term journeys in space. Such a material would also be far lighter than a typical light bulb.
Innovation such as this is exactly what the coming year (and years) will need to get through the coming economic and environmental problems. New technology is the answer, and technology is always in need of brilliant and fresh ideas. The world of 2010 is going to be just that much more interesting than the year before in the technological field thanks to innovations such as these.